DISTRICT OVERVIEW

Overall, the infrastructure and public improvement elements of the economic repositioning strategy is estimated to cost up to $90 million. Much of this consists of improved or extended street rights-of-way, including the northern extension of Manchester Trafficway from its current terminus at Truman Road, to Independence Avenue. Currently the Industrial Development Authority has authorized a planning study to begin this process.

 

Additionally, the strategy calls for investments in various smaller road and rail crossing extensions and improvements, along with stormwater detention facilities and streetscape improvements. These smaller improvements (generally ranging from $1.5 to $3 million) will help unlock idle industrial sites and improve truck accessibility and circulation.

 

Although the major improvements may take many years to complete, several of the other strategic elements are already underway. EDCKC has accomplished targeted interventions in coordination with private investments, facilitated by Federal or state grants, such as the recent procurement of a $250,000 matching grant from EDA to extend a new water main for Blue River’s Moly Cop Corp.

THE PATH FORWARD:
THE BIG 5 WORKPLAN

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1. LAND AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

  • Complete initial property transfers from Water Services Dept. for all but the most marginally useable sites

  • Capitalize industrial land bank fund to approximately $2-$3 million

  • Identify 2-3 projects for potential PIAC funding

  • Secure brownfield funding for 1-2 projects          

Mid/long-term goals (3-5 years)

  • Capitalize land bank fund to approximately $5-$6 million

  • Complete 3-5 significant property acquisitions 

  • Secure PIAC funding for 2-3 projects 

  • Secure 1-2 infrastructure projects in CIP

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2. INCENTIVES

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

  • Partial City Council adoption of special ACT Zone incentives

  • Full adoption of ACT Zone incentives including e-tax wage supports and abatement credit transfer (ACT)

Mid/long-term goals (3-5 years)

  • Possible creation of Blue River Ecodustrial investment “opportunity fund” at host organization

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3. IMAGE AND BEAUTIFICATION

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

  • Secure grant commitment/design funding for first green infrastructure pilot project

  • Prepare CID plan to include annual “safe & clean” budget item         

Mid/long-term goals (3-5 years)

  • Construction of first green infrastructure pilot project

  • Funding commitment for first phase streetscape improvements (naming rights or PIAC)

  • Retirement of 2-3 billboards

  • Adoption of CID

  • Acquisition, clean-up of one salvaged yard or other brownfield

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4. CAPACITY BUILDING

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

  • Creation of CID Plan

  • Formation of industrial land bank advisory committee

  • Identifying/hiring exclusive Blue River project manager at EDCKC

Mid/long-term goals (3-5 years)

  • Adoption of CID

  • External “ownership” of Blue River Redevelopment Corp-like organization

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5. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

  • Assist with at least one employer–FEC/MCC contract or group placement 

  • Enroll one company in MCC apprenticeship program

  • Assist at least one company with procuring state workforce training funds

  • Full adoption of ACT zone incentives by City Council to include e–tax redirection benefit for the hiring of disadvantaged works

Mid/long-term goals (3-5 years)

  • Changing the cultural and attitude of area employers toward the workforce development system establishing permanent reciprocal relationships between area companies and workforce training providers

  • Creating one or more new apprenticeship programs targeted to/sponsored by Blue River employer(s)

AREA HISTORY:
RECREATION & WORK CENTER

"In the United States of the late 19th century, iron works personified the strength and grit of an emerging industrial power.

Pittsburgh became the Steel City, but far to the west, another corner of the industry was growing along the banks of the Blue River — on the eastern outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri. From humble beginnings in the late 1880s, Kansas City Bolt & Nut Co. grew to Armco Steel.

As workers flocked to this rapidly industrializing area, which eventually included a Ford Motor Co. plant along with Armco, the Blue Valley neighborhood became a working-class enclave. Yet jobs and employers dwindled as the U.S. steel industry struggled in the late 20th century, and the Ford plant moved to a new plant in Claycomo, Missouri, that opened in 1951." -FlatlandKC.org

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"Cottages and craft rental outfitters lined the banks of the Blue from near its confluence with the Missouri, all the way south into the Leeds area. At the time this photo was taken (bottom right), the Blue River was a primary recreation area for Kansas City residents. Transportation was still difficult outside of the city, and the Blue could be reached by streetcar, automobile or horse and buggy very easily along a variety of east-west primary arteries. Warm spring days found boat and cottage owners alike, working vigorously to ready their cottages and watercraft for the summer boating season. -NortheastNews.net